For me the peaceful heart of the journey was the few days which we spent in the Amran Gardens on the slopes of Mount Sinai. I loved being there – a place of huge, rounded boulders set in a steep-sided valley where in March the wild fig spreads its stark white branches under a guardian group of date palms and the first leaves of the pomegranate tree shine orange and red in the morning sun. As a gardener I love putting my hands into the soil and it felt very special to be planting habak (wild mint) and zatran (thyme) seedlings under the serene guidance of Mahmood Mansur, the man who is responsible for the restoration of this garden. I hope these will now be thriving plants and that the leaves will in due course be dried and become two of the ingredients of Mahmood’s special tea.
Looking back four months on, my feeling is that what I gained from the journey was a quiet affirmation – from being in a strong, supportive, harmonious group, looked after so well throughout by the gentle Bedouin people and in a profoundly nourishing environment.